I made it! Today is the first Monday of the month, so I dug out my Geek & Sundry playing cards and did the draw for August. Say what, you ask? The skinny is this: I set a challenge to myself (and anyone else who wanted to try) last January. It’s a year-long monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. Using three suits from a deck of cards, and assigning thirteen genres to clubs, thirteen items to diamonds, and thirteen locations to hearts, I made a deck of prompts. Once a month, drawing three cards creates the challenge. No more than 1,000 words, and no longer than a week to work on it, and… ta-da! Stretched writerly muscles, fun, and zero stress. (And that last rule is paramount: if it gets stressful or stops being fun? Skip the month. There’ll be another challenge September 3rd.)
In January, we had Fairy Tales involving a Tattoo Machine set in a Prison! The results were fantastic. February? Crime Caper, Compass, and a Soup Kitchen was a challenge (though with awesome results). March brought Romance, involving a VHS Cassette, set in a Firewatch Tower (results). Then in April, we had Historical Fictions set on Dirt Roads dealing with Rat Poison, and the timelines involved in those results were all over the place. Or time. You get it. May delivered some Science Fiction in our laps, taking place Above the Clouds and involving a Dog Whistle (results). For June, it was a Fantasy involving Hot Chocolate, set in a Junkyard or Scrapyard (which you can happily sip here). And for July, we crafted Mysteries involving Typewriters set on a Dam (results here).
I made a video of this month’s draw, in between sweating in this heat.
The chart from which the draws were made was this (minus the cards from previous draws, greyed out):
And the result for August? Nine of clubs, nine of diamonds, and seven of hearts. Which means anyone who wants to play along is going to write a flash fiction piece of 1,000 words within the following guidelines: a Ghost Story, set on or in a Tobacco Shop, and including an Earring.
If you do participate, please pop a link to this post, or to the Facebook video above so I can gather all the stories again for a round-up post next week.
But the most important thing? This is supposed to be fun and inspiring. If it’s not working for you, take a pass. There’ll be another challenge on the first Monday of September (that’s September 3rd), from the remaining items on the list. The “rules” such as they are are pretty limited: You have to use the genre, the item, and the setting (though you can play a bit fast and loose within those guidelines), no more than 1,000 words, and the piece needs to be finished by next Monday (August 13th). That’s it.